T: . . . when they came through, they were still there. ("MEGAN" "ME AND HIM") When me and him started hollering.
B: They just got over there, though. ("YEAH")
M: Yeah, but he had just about everything —
B: They just got there.
M: — going to take Kim to Ada. ("UH-HUH" )
T: There's another car pulling up there too.
M: "I'm going to go get him some clothes to wear tomorrow." That's all I know.
B: They just left a few minutes before you all got here. ("UHHHH")
Y: Mama. ([FIONA MANNING] "HI")
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: THE VOICE OF MY FRIEND FIONA MANNING CAN HE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE.)
M: I've got to go put some of that stuff up in the kitchen and clean up.
M: I'm wore out.
( . . . )
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: THERE IS A STRANGE HUMMING SOUND HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE AS STEVE SPEAKS.)
S: I think I hear another owl's call. ("POLICE WORK")
K: This one's high-pitched.
Q: I think I heard it too.
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: THE HUMMING SOUND ENDS HERE.)
("COME ON NOW")
T: Yeah, it's close.
Q: You've heard them call your name too?
Q (to Brenda) But you have?
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: A MOMENTARY TAPE RECORDER MALFUNCTION IS HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE.)
S: That doesn't sound like an owl, whatever it is. ("DOESN'T IT") It sounded like Michael.
Q: I sort of heard a ("LITTLE HOOT") hoot.
T: The owl?
M: Michael, are you ("WHO") out there?
T: Oh. ("WHO")
S: It sounded like it was coming from way up over there.
M: Get out of them bushes, Michael. ("HEAR THAT")
K: There it is.
M: Way up there. ("IN LOS ANGELES")
T: One time the neighbors ("DON'T LOOK") came over. ("RACHEL YEAH" "MARK" "GIVE SHERRY THE BOOK") Some time the neighbor was coming over ("EVERYWHERE" "TO BED") to steal Bill and Mama's tiller.
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: THERE IS THE SOUND OF A HORSE WHINNY IN THE DISTANCE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE)
M: That's a horse there.
T: And he started it up and took off with it. And Michael said, "BILL, THERE'S SOMEBODY STEALING YOUR TILLER. GET HIM. GET HIM."
Q: Oh my Gosh. ( "THAT WAS")
T: Wasn't that funny?
Q: That's what the Bell Witch did.
M: We loaned that to the neighbors. ("IT")
Q: Once the spirit told the family "THEM DAMN SHAKERS SHAN'T STOP THIS TIME" and perfectly impersonated the voice of one of their slaves to send the dogs after them and drive them away.
M: Oh really?
B: Did you tell him about that horse talking? ("HM HM HA" "YOU KNOW ABOUT —" "PEARL" "— FINANCIAL PLAN")
K: Show us the book. ("UH")
Q: You know, it's probably not a good idea. ("PEOPLE") They'd probably think if any of you had read it — it could be hurtful later on in terms of your ("CRE") credibility or things like that. ("IT DOESN'T REALLY") Reading about the Bell Witch isn't really satisfying because it's sort of piecemeal, anyway. It's very similar to your case. I just don't think — at this point anyway ("IT WOULD") it would be a good idea. Because there's many different articles and versions of the story. ("BUT" "YOU KNOW") I think you really should check ("THE ANC") your ancestry in terms of ("THE — THE") the Bells ("WHY") to see if ("NO") your family tree hooks up somewhere.
T: That would be weird, wouldn't it? ("TOTALLY WEIRD")
R: The last thing you worked on was ("WELL HE — HE") similar to this one?
Q: He chose the husband ("FOR") for the daughter in the family. He didn't want her to be with another of her suitors and paired her up with another one.
R: Oh, it was a woman?
Q: Well, the ("MAIN THING") — the daughter was sort of like the battery. She would have fainting spells and —
W: (to Maxine) How far can you go back with the Bells? ("ME")
M: I don't know. We had a family tree of them once. ("NIGGER" "WELL SOMEBODY TALKED TO BILL" "YEAH" "HU HU HA" "UH-HUH" "DID IT BRANCH OUT")
Q: They probably have at the library where Brenda got — ("YOU KNOW THAT") that information about the previous Bell family. Probably that would be the same place to get more information. ("YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS" "THEY'RE STRAIGHTER THAN WILLIAM") Actually, I think libraries offer interlibrary loans. ("NO" "I PROBABLY CAN EVEN") I probably can research that from L.A. even.
T: As usual the family is broke.
M: You must have names though, don't you?
Q: Well, yeah, but you sometimes get lucky when you start to research something. ("YOU KNOW")
K: Daddy's mama had a weird name, didn't she?
K: No. Her first name. ("ZONA")
T: Zona Leona.
Q: (small laugh) Zona Leona.
R: That ain't weird.
T: That is a weird name.
B: That sounded like a song to me ("SHHHHHH") — Zona Leona! (laughs)
S: Sounds like somebody into the cards and things. ("WHY'D YOU DO THAT" "NO" "THE TWILIGHT ZONE" "YOU BEEN PAYING INTERCOURSE" "FULL MOON HAVE LONG TO LIVE" "MARDUK IS GOING TO LIVE IN COALGATE NEXT YEAR" "THROW ME ON THE TRUCK")
T: What did you say ("MAMA" "HERE" "KAREN [PHONETIC SPELLING] IMMATEAR") was the name of your psychic friend that I reminded you of? The one who reads Tarot cards?
Q: Her name is Fiona. ("WHAT") Strange name. ("YEAH")
M: Is that right?
Q: Fiona Manning. She's of Greek and Australian ancestry. She lives in L.A. now. ("WITH HER" "NO" "EH EH EH HE" "I HATE" "YOU KNOW") When I first met her she was first working for the soap opera magazines as the liaison for Australia. But now she's reading Tarot cards for a living at a psychic bookstore. ("HUH") I don't really think she is psychic but I think the Tarot cards help her a lot.
B: I'd love to get some of those cards.
M: I have to go check the stereo. ("JUST LIKE MY AUNT ELEANOR" "WHAT'S THAT")
( . . . )
Q: I heard that too. ("IT SOUND") It might have been a horse. ("BUT") It was very —
T: Good — a hound dog. ("I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU" "ADAM")
Q: It's amazing what little things you hear — what strange little noises. ("I KNOW" "COUNTRY NEEDS TIRES" "AM")
T: What kind of night sounds do you hear in L.A.? Gunshots? ("YEAH" "OOH WHO WHO WHO WHO")
Q: Yeah. You hear a lot of gunshots. ("MINE" "RAW GANG UP")
T: Like we hear the crickets. ("FOOTPRINT" "YEAH" "MEXICO")
Q: And helicopters. ("YOU KNOW THE WAY") Helicopters are flying over head constantly. They're either the police or the TV news shows. ("SIGH" "HEAR A GUNSHOT NOW AND THEN") Of course, the earthquakes rumble and then sometimes when ("RIGHT") the space shuttle lands ("NO") nearby you hear two big booms.
M: What town do you live in?
Q: In L.A. ("WHAT I MEAN") It's the Echo Park district.
M: His sister lives in Pomona.
Q: That's a bit way out. ("YEAH")
W: I've lived in Orange County. I've lived in Anaheim. I've lived in Pomona, Torrance and Buena Park. ("AND YOU'VE LIVED GOOD")
M: Anaheim is in Orange County. ("BORN IN")
S: My other side of the family lived in Sacramento. ("OH" "BROTHER" "COCONUT" "DO YOU") Are you from California? ("DID YOU KILL GRANDMA" "YEAH" "OKLAHOMA CITY") Have you ever heard of Exeter?
Q: I've heard of it. ("MY FAMILY LIVES HERE") Yeah, I — ("DON'T THINK")
S: That's where I was born at. ("NOT IN OKLAHOMA")
R: You heard of Chico? ("CAR" "UH-HUH")
Q: Yeah. ("ST. LOUIS IS GOING TO WIN IT THIS YEAR" "AND" "MY FAMILY" "CINDY" "EXACTLY" "CALL DON SHERRY AND BARRY" "WE HEARD SOMETHING IN THE HOUSE")
T: We don't like our neighbors. ("YEAH" "BACK THAT WAY" "SOMEWHERE")
K: I think mosquitoes are eating me up. ("I THINK IT HITS YOU" "HAL" "FATHER" "HOPE" "YOUR OUT HOUSE BACK THERE" "YEAH I KNOW" "GIVE SHERRY THAT BOOK" "OKAY" "I'VE ARRIVED" "WELL")
Q: If I had to guess, I would say your attic is where probably ("IS") most of it is going on. ("TED") Whatever it is. ("OH REALLY" "YEAH WHATEVER IT IS")
T: You remember that time ("PHENOMENA") when we had to move that door to get to the attic? ("DOME" "YEAH") He nailed it shut one time. ("NO" "HE WAS")
W: The nails were gone. ("THEY WISH")
M: They took them all.
Q: Oh sure. Yeah. ("NO" "NAILS DON'T BOTHER ME" "HAVE FAITH")
T: (about Megan) I think so. You smell her?
K: You smell her from over there?
R: I don't smell her. ("ELLER" "WHY" "PROBABLY YOU ALL ARE IN ON IT" "CLEARLY THEY FELT IT WAS YOUR TURN" "SORRY I'M —" "SO WHY" "ACTUALLY IT'S THIS TREE I THINK" "— ABOUT TO GO OVER THERE AND" "KNOT")
T: This is the fourth time she has pooped and I'm not going to change her. ("WHAT PROOF DO I BUILD" "A NEW CAR" "HURRYING HERE" "SOMETIMES YOU'RE MAD")
( . . . )
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: I FOREGO INDICATING UNATTRIBUTED SOUNDS FOR REMAINDER OF THIS SECTION OF TAPE. A BETTER DESCRIPTION FOR THE MAJORITY OF THESE SOUNDS MAY BE TAP-DANCING. I REACHED THIS CONCLUSION AFTER TELLING MY FRIEND JENNIFER ABOUT THE SOUNDS. SHE HUMOROUSLY COMMENTED THAT THERE WAS PROBABLY EVEN TAP-DANCING GOING ON. JENNIFER HAS WORKED IN THE PARAMOUNT PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT AND AT ROGERS & COWAN. )
Q: Sometimes when you say "Throw a stone" it does. ("TAKE THE BUTTER KNIFE" "YES") I mean, would it do that now? ("FOR CERTAIN PEOPLE" "GO TO HELL" "NO WAY" "PARADED ON OVER" "OUTSIDE LOOK AT YOUR HAT" "HM HM HM" "WHAT" "I THINK IADA KNOWS MATT" "HM HM HM")
T: Michael, throw something.
M: Throw something on the table, Michael. ("MOVE THIS THING YOU KNOW")
T: He never moved this outside one, has he?
W: Michael. ("I NEED THREE TRIPS STEVE" "MARK")
M: He's too weak to move this one.
W: Michael. ("THIS" "YEAH RIGHT" "I WOULD" "WELL I DON'T KNOW" "THINK SO" "PUT CANE OVER MEGAN'S BUTT")
M: Bill used to tell him that all the time. ("OO WHO WHO WHO WHO WHO" "I MET" "WITH ALL THE LITTLE PEOPLE" "ANYONE HE'LL TAKE" "WE'RE MAKING A NEW FILM" "REALLY") A whole bunch of them here one time said they were going to leave and they weren't coming back. They wanted me and Twyla to take them to Tupelo for the last time so we did. We came back. They wanted us to stay out here in the yard until they left but we didn't know when they left. They told us, "BYE," and that's when they left us. And we cried. Me and Twyla were crying and crying. And we went back in the kitchen ("WHEN WE") when they left. And about that time Michael came back. ("AND HE SAID") "TELL BILL I SAID 'TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES.'" Then he took off again. ("WHAT WAS SAD" "BELL") Bill ("TAUGHT") told him that all the time. And we cried even more.
T: That was sad.
M: I know. ("ME AND YOU")
T: That was like a — ("BIRD PREY")
Q: Who's in the house? ("WE NEED HELP")
T: Somebody was peeking out that window.
Q: I just saw — I saw him too.
S: There shouldn't be anybody in there.
R: Did you see it?
Q: I saw something in the lit window.
T: Oh my gosh. I seen that.
( . . . )
Q: Yeah, no — I — ("NO I SAT NEAR MARK" "YOU NEVER KNOW")
K: Who's in there?
S: Nobody. ("KNOW WHAT YOU DID" "OH MY YARD")
R: This is everybody right here.
Q: It was just there for a moment. ("YEAH" "YOU KNOW LOOKING OUT FOR MARK" "WELL")
T: He yelled something at the same time.
S: What did it look like? ("MELIG")
Q: I couldn't really see what was it. Something moved ("INSIDE") beneath that window. ("PANE") A shadow. ("GOOD I CAN TRACK IT DOWN")
T: Oh man that was great. It looked like somebody just looked out ("GOOD-BYE") for a second.
Q: A shadow wasn't it?
T: Nobody's in the house?
M: No. Brenda is now. ("YEAH")
T: I couldn't remember who all —
( . . . )
T: Oh my gosh. That was weird.
K: It was like something looked out and it just spooked him. ("NO" "MY DAD")
M: Oh, who done this? ("OH HE BROUGHT IT")
Q: Oh, he brought it ("OH") in with him.
M: Oh. Scared me to death. ("OO WHO WHO")
T: Gosh, man, I didn't know he did. ("HUHH")
M: I didn't even know where — oh, she may be hungry. ("BAY")
( . . . )
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: THIS IS THE END OF MY TAPED INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 1995. THE FOLLOWING WAS RECORDED IN MY HOTEL ROOM THAT EVENING.)
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) When I called Michael, my twin brother, to tell him about the day's events, his bed all of a sudden mysteriously started to move up and down.
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: HIS EXACT WORDS WERE: "MY BED IS SHAKING." THE UNEDITED DRAFT
OF THE FIRST DAY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS TOTALED 307 SINGLE-SPACED PAGES. LOOKING
BACK, THE ONLY INDICATION THAT TIME WAS NOT PROGRESSING AT THE USUAL PACE IS THE
FACT THAT TWYLA HAD TO CHANGE MEGAN'S DIAPERS SO MANY TIMES.)